Appointments. President Barack Obama made two more Cabinet appointments Thursday morning, tapping Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary and Michael Froman as U.S. trade representative. Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire, is a longtime Obama supporter who played a major fundraising role during his first presidential campaign. She is known for her business success in the real estate and hospitality industries, including her family’s ownership of the Hyatt hotel chain. Froman currently serves as a deputy U.S. national security adviser and has been a top adviser to the president on the global economy. Froman attended Harvard Law School with the president.
No surprise here. A poll released today shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a wide lead among potential rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. According to the Quinnipac survey, 65 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said they would vote for Clinton. Vice President Joe Biden only won 13 percent of the hypothetical vote. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came in third with 4 percent. Potential voters supported other possible candidates: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia—by just 1 percent or less. Clinton, who hasn’t said yet whether she will run, is already getting campaign support from Emily’s List, a Democratic Party-aligned group that advocates for female candidates who support abortion rights. In a video the group just released, a woman who looks like Clinton from behind is seen taking the oath of office.
Justice. A British man who sold fake bomb detectors to the Iraqi government and other foreign agencies has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Jim McCormick, 57, was convicted of selling $85 million worth of the fraudulent devices, which cost only $50 to make. He sold them for between $2,500 and $30,000 each. During the trial, British army officers testified to bomb blasts that went off after trucks filled with explosives passed through check points using the devices. Iraqi exiles living in the U.K. have asked the judge to freeze McCormick’s assets to help pay compensation to civilians injured in bomb attacks.
Bird flu. Two more people died in China this week after contracting the H7N9 strain of the bird flu. As of Thursday, 26 of the 126 people diagnosed with the disease have died, and doctors fear it will soon spread to other countries. The World Health Organization has called the outbreak “one of the most lethal” flu viruses ever seen. Although officials have no evidence of human-to-human transmission, they speculate the virus could mutate and trigger a pandemic. The virus is contracted through contact with infected poultry. Doctors in the U.K. have been warned to look for symptoms in people returning from trips to China.